Chick Corea – Plays
Concord Jazz Records
The latest addition to Chick Corea’s remarkable discography is Plays, a captivating and intimate double album of solo performances.
While he claims that,”Solo piano is lonely,” Chick finds himself in good company throughout these stellar performances, engaging with several of his favorite composers.
The list of icons represents a wide swath of musical history, from the classical repertoire of Mozart and Chopin to formative jazz influences like Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, on to the Great American Songbook classics, the bossa nova beauty of Jobim, and the modern pop sensibility of Stevie Wonder.
With countless classics having become standards over the last half century, Corea himself deserves to take his place in that pantheon, and Plays includes a number of pieces – reprised from past albums or spontaneously improvised – from his own estimable songbook.
The album also showcases his charming rapport with enthusiastic audiences in concert halls across Europe and the U.S., who become integral collaborators in these spirited renditions.
Tracks include: Children’s Song No. 9, Scarlatti: Sonata, Trinkle Tinkle.
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is A Miracle
Ninja Tune Records
Julianna Barwick – acclaimed, composer, vocalist and producer who crafts ethereal, sometimes wordless soundscapes, built around multiple loops and layers of angelic harmonies.
‘Healing Is A Miracle’ is her first studio release in five years, and marks her highly anticipated return in collaboration with her new label, Ninja Tune.
Much lauded by the critics, Julianna has been supported and featured by The New Yorker, The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, The Fader, The Guardian, CoS, Stereogum and more.
The title of the new record is inspired by the wonder of how the human body heals itself – a miraculous process that we pay little attention to and by which the artist feels enthralled.
Recorded in the wake of a seismic shift in her life following a move from New York to Los Angeles, where she is now based, the release sees her embrace her new locale.
Tracks include: Healing Is A Miracle, Flowers, Safe, Inspirit, Nod, Oh, Memory, In Light, Wishing Well.
Dokken – The Lost Songs: 1978-1981
Silver Lining Music
It was during those vital years that a young, motivated Don Dokken from Southern California stepped into Media Arts Studio in Redondo Beach to lay down some unfiltered, unpasteurized rock ‘n’ roll songs.
Dokken then brought those with him to Hamburg, Germany where Dokken (influenced by the likes of Scorpions) forged a historic alliance, working with a young German producer called Michael Wagener, who would later help craft multi-million selling albums for the likes of Motley Crüe, Metallica, and Skid Row – as well as Dokken.
From the sunbaked SoCal hook of “Step Into The Light” to the “Back In The Streets” furious, fledgling, late- Sunset Strip sound, “The Lost Songs: 1978-1981” shows Dokken in the unfettered early days of balls-out attitude, as well as showcasing the song-writing skills which would see them sell more than 10 million albums and him become an international rock ‘n’ roll star.
Tracks include: Felony, Day After Day, Prisoner, Hit and Run, No Answer, Back In the Streets, We’re Going Wrong, Step Into the Light, Broken Heart, Rainbows, Liar.
Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song
Smalltown Supersound Records
Kelly Lee Owens’ ‘Inner Song’ finds the convention-blurring techno producer and singer/songwriter diving deep into her own psyche-excoriating the struggles she’s faced since the release of her breakout 2017 self-titled debut and exploring personal pain while embracing the beauty of the natural world.
It’s a leap in artistry from a musician who burst forth on the scene with a confident, rich sound, and ‘Inner Song’ is endlessly enticing when it comes to what Owens is capable of.
Inner Song comes off of what Owens describes as “the hardest three years of my life,” an emotionally fraught time. “It was definitely impacting my creative life and everything I’d worked for up to that point,” she explains. “I wasn’t sure if I could make anything anymore, and it took quite a lot of courage to get to a point where I could make something again.”
The lovely cover of Radiohead’s “Arpeggi” might strike some as an unconventional way to open a sophomore effort.
Tracks include: Flow, Melt!, Re-Wild, Jeanette, Corner Of My Sky (featuring John Cale), Arpeggi, Night, Wake-Up, L.I.N.E., On.
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess
The time had come, Angel Olsen realized in the fading summer of 2018, to take her new songs out of the house.
Olsen’s 2016 marvel, My Woman, had been a career break through, but it catalyzed a period of personal tumult, too: a painful breakup, an uneasy recovery, an inadequate reckoning.
At home in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Olsen penned songs that finally grappled with these troubles, particularly love-how forever is too much to promise, how relationships can lock us into static versions of ourselves, how you can go through hell just to make someone else happy.
These heartsore explorations shape WholeNew Mess, Olsen’s first solo album since her 2012 debut and an emotional portrait so intimate and vulnerable you can hear her find meaning in these crises in real-time.
At least nine of the 11 songs on Whole New Mess should sound familiar to anyone who has heard All Mirrors, Olsen’s grand 2019 masterpiece.
Tracks include: Impasse (Workin’ For The Name), What It Is (What It Is), Tonight (Without You), Whole New Mess.